Can Periodontal Disease Cause Heart Disease?
In May of 2000, the Surgeon General in the US released a report entitled “Oral Health in America“. The report suggested that there might be a possible link between periodontal disease, and systemic heart disease. The symptoms for both diseases were showing up in patients at similar times. There was no specific evidence to support these claims however, and more research was required to substantiate the theory.
In February 2005, the Canadian Dental Associations Board of Directors weighed in by supporting the findings of the Surgeon General. Patients with the symptoms of gum disease were seemingly at higher risk for other serious problems, such as heart disease. Another call was put forward for more research to evaluate the relationships between these diseases, while at the same time urging healthcare professionals to educate themselves on the links between oral care and general health.
In April of this year, the American Heart Association published their findings in their journal “Circulation”, stating that a review of the scientific evidence did not establish a cause and effect relationship between periodontal disease and heart disease. Rather, the AHA writing group concluded that heart disease and periodontal disease might occur at the same time in a person because of the risk factors they have in common. Those with diabetes carry a higher risk for both diseases, as would smokers or the elderly.
The link between gum disease and heart disease has been a lingering question for many dental professionals. Though there is no evidence of one causing the other, the warning signs still remain for those suffering from acute periodontal disease. Poor oral health will always be linked to your overall general health. It is not something to be taken lightly. Since gum disease is an easily diagnosed and treated ailment, it can be used as a warning signal of poor general health.
If you have concerns of your own, come in for a consultation, or talk to your family doctor about it.